(Uz·ziʹah) [My Strength Is Jehovah].
1. A Kohathite Levite; “son” of Uriel.—1Ch 6:22-24.
2. One whose son Jonathan was an official of King David.—1Ch 27:25.
3. King of Judah, also called Azariah. The son of Amaziah by his wife Jecoliah, Uzziah is credited with a reign of 52 years (829-778 B.C.E.). During this period Jeroboam (II), Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, and Pekah ruled in succession over the northern kingdom. (2Ki 15:1, 2, 8, 10, 13, 14, 17, 23, 25, 27; 2Ch 26:3) The prophets Isaiah (1:1; 6:1), Hosea (1:1), Amos (1:1), and perhaps Joel were contemporaries of Uzziah. This king’s reign witnessed an unusually great earthquake.—Zec 14:5.
After the death of his father, 16-year-old Uzziah was made king by the people of Judah. (2Ki 14:21; 2Ch 26:1) According to 2 Kings 15:1, however, Uzziah became king in the 27th year of Israelite King Jeroboam (II). As this would place the beginning of Uzziah’s rule approximately 12 years after the death of his father, this must refer to his ‘becoming king’ in a special sense. It may be that in the 27th year of King Jeroboam, the two-tribe Judean kingdom was freed from subjection to the northern kingdom, a subjection that perhaps began when Israelite King Jehoash defeated Uzziah’s father Amaziah. (2Ch 25:22-24) So it may be that Uzziah became king a second time in the sense of being free from the domination of Israelite King Jeroboam (II).
Uzziah did what “was upright in Jehovah’s eyes.” This was largely because he heeded the good instruction of a certain Zechariah (not the prophet by that name who lived in a later period). But his subjects continued improper sacrificing at high places.—2Ki 15:3, 4; 2Ch 26:4, 5.
Uzziah became famous for his military successes, attained with Jehovah’s help. He restored Elath (Eloth) to the kingdom of Judah and rebuilt that city located at the head of the Gulf of ʽAqaba. He warred successfully against the Philistines, breaking through the walls of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod, after which he built cities in the territory of Ashdod. Uzziah gained victories over the Arabians and Meunim, and he made the Ammonites tributaries to Judah. His powerful, well-equipped fighting force came to consist of 307,500 men under the control of 2,600 heads of paternal houses. Uzziah strengthened the fortifications of Jerusalem and built engines of war there.—2Ki 14:22; 2Ch 26:2, 6-9, 11-15.
This king also had great interest in agriculture and raising livestock. Uzziah hewed out many cisterns to provide an ample water supply for the livestock and erected towers in the wilderness, likely to protect the grazing herds and flocks from marauders. Farming and vinedressing operations were carried on under his direction in the mountains and in Carmel.—2Ch 26:10.
It appears that Uzziah’s brilliant successes resulted in his becoming haughty to the point of invading the Holy compartment of the temple to burn incense. High Priest Azariah, accompanied by 80 underpriests, immediately followed the king into the temple and censured him for this unlawful act, urging him to leave the sanctuary. With the censer for burning incense in his hand and raging against the priests, Uzziah was miraculously stricken with leprosy in his forehead, whereupon the priests excitedly ushered him out of the temple. As an unclean leper, Uzziah was cut off from all worship at the sanctuary and could not perform the kingly duties. Therefore, while Uzziah remained in a certain house until the day of his death, his son Jotham administered the affairs of state.—2Ch 26:16-21.
Concerning his death and burial, 2 Chronicles 26:23 reports: “Finally Uzziah lay down with his forefathers; and so they buried him with his forefathers, but in the burial field that belonged to the kings, for they said: ‘He is a leper.’” This may mean that, because of his leprosy, Uzziah was buried in the ground of a field connected with the royal cemetery instead of being placed in a rock-hewn tomb.
A limestone plaque, found at Jerusalem and thought to date from the first century C.E., bears the following inscription: “Hither were brought the bones of Uzziah, king of Judah. Not to be opened.”—PICTURE, Vol. 1, p. 960.
5. A descendant of Judah through Perez whose “son” Athaiah is listed among the residents of Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s time.—Ne 11:4.